Dog custody conflict

////Dog custody conflict


My friend passed away unexpectedly. He leaves behind a year old golden doodle. His girlfriend of nine months and his family both want custody of the dog. His girlfriend lives in South Carolina and his family lives in Las Vegas. Our friend does not have a will indicating who he wanted ownership of the dog to go to. The girlfriend does have medical records from the vet stating the she was a co owner of the dog. Our friend bought the dog and had her for a couple of months before moving in with his girlfriend. Any legal advice for how this situation might resolve itself would be appreciated. Specifically if there is a section of the law I could point to to show the involved parties what the probably outcome of civil court would be, that would be highly beneficial to keep them out of court in this trying time.


When a person dies without a will or without a trust agreement which contains provisions for the decedent’s animal, the decedent’s animal would typically go to next of kin under the state’s intestacy laws. However, if the animal was gifted prior to the decedent’s death, the person to whom the animal was gifted would have rights to the animal. Similarly, if the animal was co-owned, the co-owner who was living with the animal would likely have greater rights to the animal than anyone else. Sometimes it isn’t clear whether an animal was gifted or co-owned, so it is important to gather evidence. If an animal has a monetary value, sometimes custody disputes can be resolved with one person compensating the other. If the parties cannot amicably agree on custody and the matter ends up in court, the court will consider the evidence and determine rights. I suggest attorney representation.

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By |2022-06-28T09:50:27-04:00May 21st, 2022|